The Howland Research Text of HAMLET was created for stage script planning and for theater enthusiasts. The texts of Hamlet in each of the nine respected editions cited differ from each other in their mix of choices for each of 158 words that are variant in the two primary source texts of Hamlet, words that are different in lines that are otherwise identical in the two texts.
The two primary texts are the 2nd Quarto of 1604/5 (Q2) and the Folio text of 1623 (F). The Howland text and the nine editions cited all are conflations of these two texts, there being about 200 lines unique to Q2 vs. F and over 80 lines unique to F vs. Q2. Many of the editor’s or stage director’s variant word choices affect the meanings of passages. Since editors and stage directors often have a marked preference for one text or the other, the percentage of Q2 choices for these words ranges from less than 10% (Oxford) to almost 90% (Riverside).
With a context-driven editorial policy, the Howland editors have produced a text that is balanced between Q2 and Folio choices. The passages unique to Q2 or the Folio text are shown in Appendix A, the rationale for the editors’ choice for each of the 158 words not agreed upon is outlined in Appendix B, and the multi-page chart of the Q2 vs. Folio word-choices of the editors of nine editions cited is reproduced as Appendix C. The text is printed with the 130 words agreed upon underlined, the 158 words not agreed upon in red, and among the 158, the fifty that most alter meaning or that are most likely to be noticed by theater audiences are printed in bold red.
The Howland Research Tex of Shakespeare’s HAMLET is available from the Howland Research Shop:
Softbound ISBN: 978-0-9825553-4-7
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